This fall, Detroit will double the number of its general independent bookstores selling new books, when Pages on Livernois opens for business in the northwest part of the city. Pages will join Source Booksellers, currently the Motor City’s only general indie selling new books.
Susan Connelly Murphy, Pages on Livernois’s owner, says that she was motivated to become a bookseller after earning her Master’s of Library Science and Information degree from Wayne State University in 2010. Previously, the life-long Detroit-area resident worked in a variety of occupations, including IT, business, and teaching. She has no previous bookselling experience, but attended a Paz & Associates’ bookselling workshop in Florida last fall.
Pages on Livernois will specialize in classic and contemporary literature for all ages, with “an emphasis on children’s and fiction” in the 1,000-1,200 square-foot retail space in a building that will also include a café and one other retailer. She may be able to add other genres to the store inventory, as space allows, such as mystery/crime, biography, and nonfiction. “I have to be selective, because of the space constraints,” she explained.
The building is currently under renovation, and Murphy expects renovations to be complete this fall. In the interim, she started in November operating pop-up bookstores around the city and will continue to do so while operating a bookstore on weekends in a temporary location north of the store’s permanent location, in the inner-ring suburb of Ferndale. On Friday, Murphy is setting up a pop-up store in a bakery and hosting a presentation by Julie Pincus and Nichole Christian, who collaborated on Canvas Detroit (Wayne State University Press, April).
Murphy says that the name Pages on Livernois comes from the street where the store will be located: Livernois Avenue. “It used to be called the Avenue of Fashion,” she noted, explaining that there is a concentrated community effort to bring retail back to the area, which used to be known for its upscale clothing stores and, of course, declined as the city lost population. “It’s a family and multi-generational neighborhood,” Murphy said, “Which is why I picked it.” Murphy is committed, she says, to hiring any employees from the neighborhood, which has three universities nearby.